Statistical inference in behavior analysis: Environmental determinants?

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13 Scopus citations


Use of inferential statistics should be based on the experimental question, the nature of the design, and the nature of the data. A hallmark of single-subject designs is that such statistics should not be required to determine whether the data answer the experimental question. Yet inferential statistics are being included more often in papers that purport to present data relevant to the behavior of individual organisms. The reasons for this too often seem to be extrinsic to the experimental analysis of behavior. They include lapses in experimental design and social pressure from colleagues who are unfamiliar with single-subject research. Regardless of whether inferential statistics are used, behavior analysts need to be sophisticated about experimental design and inferential statistics. Such sophistication not only will enhance design and analysis of behavioral experiments, but also will make behavior analysts more persuasive in presenting rationales for the use or nonuse of inferential statistics to the larger scientific community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalBehavior Analyst
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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